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Meche ends victory drought as Royals whip Arizona 8-3

PHOENIX | It wasn’t quite another laugher. It was close enough, though.

Man, the Royals love this interleague stuff.

Gil Meche broke a five-start winless streak Sunday afternoon with a dominating performance and got plenty of run support in an 8-3 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Meche, 4-8, struck out 10 in 7 1/3 innings before departing after yielding just his fourth hit — Alex Romero’s one-out single in the eighth. Meche reached 10 strikeouts for only the third time in his career; his career high is 11.

Ramon Ramirez finished the eighth before Jeff Fulchino closed out the victory. The Royals won the final two games at Chase Field after losing the series opener Friday on a walk-off homer in the 10th inning.

The Royals followed Saturday’s 12-3 romp with another strong offensive performance.

David DeJesus paced the 14-hit attack with a career-high five RBIs, including a grand slam that capped a five-run fourth inning. His five RBIs boosted his season total to 33 — second on the club to José Guillen’s 53.

Guillen remain hot, too, with two more hits and one RBI. Mark Grudzielanek had three hits and raised his average to .305. It could have been worse; the Royals stranded 10 runners.

DeJesus’ slam, a two-out bomb, gave the Royals a 6-0 lead against Arizona starter Micah Owings. It was a knockout blow. Owings, 6-5, gave up seven runs and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings.

Meche retired the first 12 hitters before Conor Jackson opened the fifth with a line-drive single to center. Mark Reynolds followed with a walk and, that quickly, Meche was in trouble.

Chris Young hit a tough chopper to third that Alex Gordon gloved while stepping on the base for a force out, but Gordon threw wildly to first. That allowed Reynolds to score.

Jeff Salazar followed with an RBI double to right, and the lead was down to 6-2. Meche avoided further trouble by retiring the next two hitters.

Owings departed with one out in the sixth and DeJesus coming to the plate with runners at first and second. Meche had just botched a sacrifice attempt; John Buck was thrown out at third.

DeJesus pulled Juan Cruz’s first pitch into right field for an RBI double.

The Diamondbacks closed to 7-3 after Teahen failed to catch Reynolds one-out drive to deep right in the seventh. The ball fell for a triple, and Young followed with an RBI grounder to third.

The Royals got that run back on Guillen’s RBI single against rookie Leo Rosales in the eighth.

Meche appeared headed toward a victory in his last start when he handed a four-run lead to the bullpen in the seventh last Tuesday against Texas. The bullpen let it slip away in a 6-5 loss.

Not this time.

The Royals are now 4-2 this season against National League opponents and have won 24 of their last 39 interleague games.

DeJesus’ leadoff single in the first led to the game’s first run. He moved to second on a one-out walk to Gordon, and both runners advanced when Guillen grounded out to first.

DeJesus scored when Owings threw a wild pitch.

The Royals did nothing with Mark Teahen’s leadoff single in the second but stirred again when Guillen opened the fourth with his 25th double. Guillen went to third when Grudzielanek blooped a single into right.

Guillen had to hold when Teahen grounded out to first, although Grudzielanek reached second. Owings then loaded the bases by hitting Buck.

Owings seemed to get the key out when Ross Gload popped weakly to second.

Seemed.

Meche lined a ball off Owings’ glove and legged out a single that scored Guillen for a 2-0 lead. DeJesus then turned on a 1-0 fastball and drove it 409 feet over the right-field wall for a grand slam.

It was DeJesus’ seventh homer of the season, the first slam of his career and it boosted the lead to 6-0.

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